Wednesday, January 24, 2007

excuse me, teacher?

I was diagnosed in first grade, midway through the year. My parents took me out of the school I was in and sent me to a smaller private school where I could get some more ‘individualized attention’. I was the only child with diabetes in school. Everyone was very accommodating, and let me snack when needed test without going to the nurses office. Although, when I was first diagnosed there was not the emphasis on tight control and multiple tests a day. I’d rarely check at school.

If I was ever low I had an extra snack with me. If I had eaten my snack I knew the school had things for me in the teachers closet. I’d just tell my teacher and she’s get me one of the juice cans that my mom had given them. (yes, juice can- with the pull tab top)

I only ever needed to ask for it once. I was in 2nd grade. I remember like it was yesterday. Miss Huver was out sick for the day and we had a random substitute teacher. I watched the clock for a bit. School let out at 2.15. it was 1.30…. could I make it home while low so I don’t have to ask… I didn’t want to ask… I didn’t want to be singled out…. I didn’t want to be different.

I realized that I’d never make the 45 minutes left of school and the bus ride home without having to ask someone for my juice.

I recall timidly walking up to the substitute and trying to explain that the teacher had something in her closer and I needed it. No dice. Then I explained that I had diabetes and needed my juice. Well, low and behold, a classmate heard me. I recall a few taunts of “oh, you need your mommy” - “if you’re too sick for school you should not be here” and a few other jabs that were particularly hurtful. I never asked for another juice from anyone again. Ever.

Luckily I’ve never felt that small and uncomfortable about my diabetes again. That is, until today. How is it possible that a well adjusted 30 year old adult can feel like an insecure child? It was easier than you’d think.

I work in a very small office. There are 6 of us in the whole company. It’s a very quirky company. Most of the employees have been here for over 12 years. I just am starting on year two, so am clearly the new kid. We had a little incident when I started about the insurance plan, but we figured everything out. I’ve never had a problem with my diabetes and work. They like me, I do a good job, everything was just hunky dorey.

Today, one of the owners of the company came into my office. He is a bizarre bizarre little man. He is a fully grown adult with two kids in middle school. He has the worst case of adult ADD I could ever imagine. He asked my office mate for some Advil. She didn’t have any so I offered him some that I had in my purse. And he said…..

(are you sitting down? Because I am glad I was when he said this….)

"This doesn't have any of your disease on it does it, I don't wanna get that"

excuse me? My what?


just like that, I was asking for my juice again and felt 8 years old.

I’m still appalled, horrified, shocked…

So, I will no longer feel bad about blogging at work, or planning floral designs for weddings.
Today in that little moment, I went from someone that really cared about this quirky little company, to someone that really just cares about a paycheck.

Unreal. Just unreal.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

lightbulb moment

I was sitting at my desk at work and all of the sudden the light directly above me went off. The rest of the office was still lit appropriately, it’s just me that noticed, and embarrassingly enough, it took me a minute to realize what happened. All of the sudden something was just different.

I skipped my last endo appointment. It was right around the holidays and I just had too much going on in my little world. Just the same, I tried to take a little time and download my pump and meter and take a look at things. I find it’s not always that my doctor has great suggestions, it’s that life is too busy to stop and listen to what these numbers are telling me. The 30 minutes in his office is all I need to stop and make the changes that will correct whatever my current dilemma is.

I downloaded and looked at the graphs and charts. I tinkered with colors and labels and really didn’t get too far. I didn’t see any major trends during any part of my day. (I used to run higher in the afternoons, but those seemed ok) I had this nagging feeling that while I was doing ok, I wanted to be consistently lower. Do I up my basals? Which ones? I am borderline low in the morning anyway … hum… I figured that the answer would come to me eventually. Maybe I should have kept that appointment after all…

And then it dawned on me. I lowered my target so that when I corrected with my pump, it was correcting to 90 rather than 110. After that little change my numbers have been right where I’d like them. Unless, of course, I don’t count my carbs right- but that’s a whole ‘nother post anyway!

Sometimes diabetes is like turning a light off and on. Simple acts that sometimes are taken for granted can make a big difference. You just need a little change of scenery to see what the answer was all along.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Are you in the cool kids club?

I think it’s because I grew up at a diabetes camp that I think of diabetes as just a part of life. Summer time to me included glucose tabs and stale nabs in a fanny pack, as much as swimming and hotdogs. It’s just the way it was. I’ve ever hid it nor been ashamed or embarrassed by having diabetes. It’s just like the fact that I am right handed, to me. I always say that I have a disproportionate number of friends with diabetes. And I guess I am egocentric enough to think that everyone is like that as well. Why would you spend the energy to hate and loathe something that in the end, you can’t make go away. You can try and pretend that you’re left handed, but eventually you realize, that it’s more effort than if you just went with the flow.

I tend to snicker and mumble something that is not appropriate when I tell people that I have diabetes and they respond with something like “oh my cousin’s sister had a dog that convulsed in the living room because of that” We all have had to live through those wretched tales of people dying and losing various appendages to this disease. Or when someone says, oh, Bill Smith in Ohio has diabetes, do you know him? Oh ya, I’ll look him up in the secret diabetes directory. I mean honestly people… it drives me crazy.

That’s why it strikes me funny that every time I see an insulin pump or a medic alert bracelet I get this little rush. Like an excited 4 year old, I often will walk up to total strangers and say, hey, I have a minimed too… like we are all part of the special cool kids club. Maybe the OC IS like a secret yellow pages directory.

The woman that taught Ryan and I to dance for our wedding had a pump. I always assumed that if I can see it, you don’t mind answering questions about it. So I asked, how do you like the pump? The woman looked at me like I had 4 heads and was less than interested in talking about the pump, diabetes or anything of the sort. I quickly explained all about having diabetes for 24 years and how I was thinking of going on again etc…. I really was surprised at her reaction. Isn’t a pump on your waist band a secret decoder ring to invite you into the club? Is it too bold for me to assume that everyone is as interested in other people with diabetes as I am?

I think that’s why every day at work I sneak a few moments to check in on you all in my secret club. To make sure that everyone else is keeping on keepin’ on. Somehow it makes it easier for me to remember that I can only do the best that I can.

I admit that I miss those days at camp. When sitting out for a few minutes as you wait for your bood sugar to come up was totally normal. Making designs with lancet caps and syringe tops was a sign of status and creativity. Where there was a deep unstated understanding of all that you have to do everyday to make diabetes look easy on the surface. It still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to think about it. I love that I can get some of that virtual support everyday that is just a few mouse clicks away.

So my secret cool kids friend, today’s password is: combo-bolous…. I’ll meet you at the tree fort after school.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Another one over, and a new one just begun.

What a year I had in 2006. I finally got over my fear of the pump. 10 years after going off my first pump, I decided to venture ahead with ‘Bonnie” I hate to say it but I don’t know what took me so long (other than my own fears and stubbornness.) Pumping has really steadied my control and I really really enjoy sleeping through the night. (on MDI I was up low between 2-4am at least 3 nights a week) I managed to not gain any “pump weight” a small, completely shallow goal, but one that I’m proud of anyway. I can see how it’s so easy to fall into the pump and eat trap.

We remodeled the bathroom and sold our house this summer, on our own, in the middle of a declining real estate market in the Boston area. It was a lot of work, stress and cleaning. And of course, in the end, we sold it to the people who came to see the house spur of the moment with the dog inside and laundry hanging from every doorway. Figures.

We bought a new house and car this year in preparation for the “next step.” We have been diligently painting and working it make it “our” home. I love each and every inch of our new pad.

This fall we lost my “grampa” at the age of 92. And just this last weekend our beloved “Shannon Dog” went to heaven to join him. We miss them both dearly.

There are 3 things that will stick out for me this year.
1. Taking control of my diabetes to a new level. Go bonnie go. Learning to let go of my fears and invite my husband in to help me in taking care of my health.
2. Getting certified as a ‘professional florist” and doing my first wedding.
3. Figuring out how 2 people make an “us” - my first year of marriage with my too cool for words husband.

Three things I can’t wait to accomplish this year:
1. A planned trip to Italy in September/October.
2. Taking a stab at really getting my floral business up and going
3. Planning on embarking on the – what I’m sure will be a rollercoaster ride – of starting a family.

I hope that whatever dreams and plans you have for this New Year, that you’re able to capture the excitement of them and make it last throughout the year.

A happy and healthy year to you all….